Friday, December 22, 2017

Downsizing - Review

Alexander Payne has presented himself as a good filmmaker in the past with his other films, so it is only logical that a new work from him would shoot to the top of anticipation lists. Where Downsizing really grabs you, however, is with the intriguing concept that it presents combined with the comedic sensibilities of Payne, Unfortunately the final product is far from the film it could’ve been and winds up falling short of every expectation.

When scientists discover how to shrink humans to five inches tall as a solution to overpopulation, Paul (Matt Damon) and his wife Audrey (Kristen Wiig) decide to abandon their stressed lives in order to get small and move to a new downsized community — a choice that triggers life-changing adventures.

The first third or so of Downsizing shows promise, introducing the idea of shrinking really well and establishing the world. But it only goes downhill from there. All those ideas present at the start seemingly become insignificant after the midpoint of the film outside of a few visual gags. The whole thing becomes this jumbled mess of themes and ideas that never becomes as inherently interesting as the idea of shrinking the population to save the planet.

It certainly doesn’t work in the film’s favor that all of the characters are incredibly bland. Matt Damon is so uninteresting and impossible to latch onto. Christoph Waltz is ever the disappointment when not attached to Quentin Tarantino and presents very few actual funny moments. The only exception is Hong Chau. The actress is by far the standout, delivering a performance far better than the film, with some excellent comedic timing and delivery. It’s just a shame that she feels trapped in an otherwise dull film.

If ever there was a film that feels like the screenplay was a cocktail napkin idea that never had much beyond that its Downsizing. It is a story crammed within a vague premise that doesn’t amount to much. The film presents some very human themes that fit within the realm of sci-fi, but the sheer fact that the sci-fi elements don’t matter after the first hour or so means Downsizing just comes off as a tedious drama.

Overall, Downsizing is a mismatched and jumbled piece of film that doesn’t take the interesting paths it presents, without doing much in its place. The performances outside of Hong Chau are incredibly bland and not worthwhile of your attention. In the end, the film just can’t measure up to the titillating premise that it sets up.

So what did you think of Downsizing? Have you seen it? Are you interested in seeing it? Share, subscribe, comment below, and as always return to I Am Sam for weekly reviews and insight.

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